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Bradford City 1 Gillingham 0 - League 1 match report

Gillingham’s hopes of a play-off place suffered a major blow with defeat at Bradford.

The Gills had appeals for a penalty waved away by the referee at the end of an opening half that failed to produce a goal.

Just three minutes after the restart Dominic Poleon put Bradford ahead and his goal proved enough.

Scott Wagstaff up against Bradford keeper Colin Doyle Picture: Ady Kerry
Scott Wagstaff up against Bradford keeper Colin Doyle Picture: Ady Kerry

Successive postponements at Priestfield meant that the Gills were embarking on their fourth straight match away from home.

With eight wins on their travels, Steve Lovell’s men had already shown they don’t mind travelling. They were facing a Bradford side in freefall, without a win in 10 and without a goal in three.

Reaction: Gills boss frustrated as chances go begging

There was a change upfront for the Gills as Conor Wilkinson - the inspiration behind their win at Portsmouth - replaced 14-goal top scorer Tom Eaves. Bradley Garmston had an attacking role in the side, in for Antiguan international Josh Parker.

Liam Nash came on late in the game as Gills searched for an equaliser Picture: Ady Kerry
Liam Nash came on late in the game as Gills searched for an equaliser Picture: Ady Kerry

Bradford’s international keeper Colin Doyle did make the match, less than 24 hours after playing 90 minutes for Republic of Ireland. The Bantams hadn’t kept a clean sheet in four months.

Neither side could find a breakthrough in the opening half, one which the Gills just about edged, without overly testing Doyle.

Callum Reilly’s dipping shot from outside the box went close and Scott Wagstaff should have found the target when Garmston teed him up.

Wilkinson’s header was on target but held by the keeper.

Lee Martin and Conor Wilkinson debate on the pitch Picture: Ady Kerry
Lee Martin and Conor Wilkinson debate on the pitch Picture: Ady Kerry

Alex Gilliead and Dominic Poleon were both lively going forward for the home side but it was a free-kick from Tony McMahon that went closest, hitting the side netting.

The Gills lost Reilly to what appeared to be a hamstring injury just before the break and they had big appeals for a penalty, when Wilkinson was shoved over inside the box by Nathaniel Knight-Percival. Referee Ross Joyce wasn’t interested.

WEB ONLY (1280892)
WEB ONLY (1280892)

Bradford took a 48th minute lead when Stephen Warnock’s cross fell to the feet of Poleon and from 20 yards he had time to find the bottom corner with a well-hit finish.

Eaves joined the action with just over 20 minutes left but home sub Kai Bruenker had the chance to double the lead for Bradford. His finish was poor, however, and Holy got behind the shot.

A shot from Eaves outside the box was held by home keeper Doyle at the second attempt, after initially spilling the ball.

Wilkinson headed a good chance over as the Gills searched without joy for an equaliser.

Bradford: Doyle, Kilgallon, Vincelot, Law (Devine 83mins), Warnock, Gillead, Guy, Knight-Percival, McMahon, Poleon (Patrick 88mins), McCartan (Bruenker 72mins). Subs: Raeder, Dieng, Taylor, Grodowski.

Gillingham: Holy, O’Neill, Reilly (Ogilvie 44mins), Ehmer, Zakuani, Byrne (Eaves 67mins), Hessenthaler (Nash 87mins), Martin, Wagstaff, Garmston, Wilkinson. Subs: Nugent, Hadler, Nasseri, Moussa.

Attendance: 19,654 (298 away)

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